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29 Sep 2020

Ex-Linklaters trainee cashes in after legal tech business sells for over £100 million (RollOnFriday)

Jamie Hamilton
Photo Credit - Roll On Friday

Travis Leon joined up with ex-Simmons & Simmons lawyer Stephen Scanlan to launch XRef, a program which checked through documents for errors with defined terms, in 2012. Four years later, the pair sold XRef to legal tech giant Litera Microsytems for $10 million

Leon joined Litera as its Executive Director, and cashed out when the business sold to private equity investor HG Capital Trust last year. While the terms of the sale are swaddled in NDAs, a source close to the deal disclosed to RollOnFriday that the purchase price was nine figures (with no decimal points in the middle). Leon declined to divulge the size of his share on the basis he was bound by a confidentiality agreement.

Leon's law school peers were of course delighted to learn of his good fortune. One recalled the 2007 Linklaters ski trip where Leon and another trainee went off piste and got hit by an avalanche. Leon managed to ski on, but his companion sent an SOS by Blackberry to Linklaters' London office, where a partner took pity and scrambled a helicopter to rescue him. 

"I imagine after that incident [Travis] was given lots and lots of proof reading to do", said an embittered contemporary. "Maybe that's where his passion for proof reading came from".

"If it helps, I was in mountains of debt for most of my life before XRef", Leon told RollOnFriday.

Now he is reuniting with Scanlan for a joint venture called Jigsaw, which indicates that he may not have received an eight figure slice of the Litera pie.

"The problem we’re solving is that lawyers can spend hours trying to visualise transactions or other complicated concepts or advice by diagramming in Powerpoint", said Leon, "which is slow, clunky and produces unattractive results".

"Law firms charging hours of time to produce ugly diagrams as their first output isn’t a great first impression", he said.

Jigsaw boasts features like an app which can convert a hand drawn image into an on-screen diagram, and has so far raised nearly $1.5m in funding. Leon said the money has come "almost exclusively from senior partners, CIOs, CKOs and MDs from most Magic Circle firms, top US firms and large banks". 

The market this time around "is much bigger than just law firms", said Leon, "so Stephen and I are hoping this venture is even bigger and better than XRef. If we have another successful exit we might finally call it a day and live in huts on a beach in the Caribbean for the rest of our days!" 

This article is graciously reposted with the permission of the team at Roll On Friday. If you enjoyed it please visit their website. rollonfriday.com

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